Being sensitive to the feelings of others

by | November 2, 2017 7:42 am

Playl’s Ponderings – By Steve Playl

Hundreds of children descend on our neighborhood every Oct. 31, masquerading as all sorts of creatures, expecting us and lots of other folks to provide treats for their bags. Some dress like ghosts, ghouls, and goblins, trying to look really scary. Others dress like cartoon characters, super heroes, or fairy tale characters.

This year, two of the precious little trick-or-treaters making no attempt to look scary are our 4-year-old grandson, Anderson, and his life-long best friend, Piper. For Halloween, they dressed as “Prince Charming” and “Cinderella.” They were perfect for their roles. They were so precious. I wish you could have seen them.

Of course, some of those who were out seeking goodies on Halloween wanted to scare the daylights out of everybody, but most wouldn’t have really wanted to scare anybody too much. I know my grandchildren wouldn’t want anyone to feel badly, for very long, about anything.

May I give you a couple of examples of why I’m pretty sure most precious kids care about the feelings of others?

A couple of years ago, when Grayson was 4, we used to take him to Lowe’s to see the blow-up, Halloween, yard decorations. He would always shake, with great exaggeration, and cry out, dramatically, “That thing scares me to deaf!” He was so stinking cute.

Well, a few weeks ago, we went to Lowe’s, and, as a mature 6-year-old, Grayson wasn’t at all shook up by the inflatable “monsters.” When we asked if they scared him to “deaf,” he just rolled his eyes and said, “Not really!”

“Nahnee” and I tried not to show our disappointment in his reaction, but he picked up on our response. So a few minutes later, after I had left the group to pick up a needed item and returned to join them, Grayson grabbed my hand and pointed at one of the props. “You know, Papa, that one actually does kind of freak me out!”

Try and visualize the scene. I’m sure you can imagine how precious he was and how sincerely he wanted to avoid disappointing us…by growing up on us.

Isn’t it cute how children want to spare the feelings of those they love, even if it means pretending they are not as grown up as they really are?

Recently, our other 6-year-old, James David, wiped his mother’s kiss from his cheek. With fake tears she whimpered, “James David, it breaks mommy’s heart that you don’t want to keep her kisses.”

Immediately, he tried to comfort her with these words, “Don’t cry mommy. I still feel the love.”

Anderson’s actions offer a similar scenario, when he offers his cheek to Sammie and says, “It’s OK, Nahnee, you can still give me ‘Nahnee mark.’” He is obviously torn between being too grown up for Nahnee’s lipstick on his cheek and hurting her feelings.

As children grow up, some of them may learn to be mean, to bully others, and try in any way to hurt those around them, but in their youthful innocence, most children are naturally loving and caring. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if adults could, in some ways, act more like children?

The Bible says we should be kind and tenderhearted to each other. Generally, our grandchildren know how to do that and demonstrate their sensitivity…at least to “Nahnee and Papa.”

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